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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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401 Squadron Crest
18.02.1942 No. 401 Squadron Spitfire Vb X4666 YO-R Fl/Sgt. Clarke

Operation: Ramrod

Date: 18th February 1942 (Wednesday)

Unit: 401 Squadron (The Rams)

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: X4666

Code: YO-R

Base: RAF Biggin Hill, Kent

Location: English Channel understood to be close to Ramsgate

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Gerald Francis Clarke R/71424 RCAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed (1)


We are extremely grateful to François Dutil (438 Squadron Archivist) for supplying photographs and information to Aircrew Remembered in October 2017. All photographs shown within this page are available to relatives at a higher resolution (as are most of those named within this page) - courtesy of François.


REASON FOR LOSS:

Flying as Blue 2 the pilot was taking part as one of the high cover aircraft from the Squadron escorting Blenheims bombing a submarine base in Ostend harbour.

Above left: P/O. Hugh John Lynch Merritt J/16571 RCAF and Fl/Sgt. Gerald Francis Clarke R/71424 RCAF. Right: photo marked, Clarke, Flander, Merritt, Cosburn, Duff and Dalgleish.

During the return leg over the Channel he announced on his radio that he was being attacked and hit by two Bf109’s but although others from the Squadron went to investigate, sadly no trace of him was found.

(1) Clarke Narrows in Kapechekamasic Lake in Manitoba was named after Fl/Sgt. Gerald Francis Clarke in 1995.

Burial details:

Fl/Sgt. Gerald Francis Clarke. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 103. Son of William John and Ernestine Clarke and husband of Gratia Adelaide Clarke, of 433 Borebank Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, father to Gloria Marie Clarke.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Francois Dutil, other sources as quoted below:

KTY - 17.10.2017

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 17 October 2017, 18:36

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